NBA Hoops

Turner, Mathurin spur Pacers’ rally to beat Bulls 116-110

Turner, Mathurin spur Pacers' rally to beat Bulls 116-110

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) โ€” Bennedict Mathurin looked at the Indiana Pacersโ€™ 21-point first-half deficit and saw an opportunity.

He kept urging his teammates to play hard, to follow the game plan and insisted they eventually could come back. Again. Then the 20-year-old rookie made sure of it.

Mathurin and Myles Turner each scored 26 points and Mathurin broke free for the decisive basket with 29.1 seconds left to give the Pacers a 116-110 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

โ€œHe was the most animated Iโ€™ve seen him in the huddles all season,โ€ coach Rick Carlisle said. โ€œHe was being encouraging, saying โ€˜We can do this, we can do this.โ€™ He just brings an indomitable will to compete, to get the ball in the basket and to outwork you.โ€

Indiana snapped a season-worst seven-game losing streak by rallying from a double-digit deficit to win for the 11th time this season โ€” two of those after trailing by 20 points or more โ€” and barely stayed ahead of 10th-place Chicago in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers played again without injured point guard Tyrese Haliburton and this time without his replacement, Andrew Nembhard, who was sick.

T.J. McConnell had 20 points and 10 assists for the Pacers. But without Turnerโ€™s big third quarter and Mathurin playing the role of closer, Indiana wouldnโ€™t have completed the rally.

โ€œA lot of rookies are hitting a wall and losing steam at this point,โ€ Carlisle said. โ€œHeโ€™s actually gaining momentum and thatโ€™s the most impressive thing about him.โ€

Mathurin certainly caused headaches for the Bulls, who had a three-game winning streak end. DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points to lead Chicago and Nikola Vucevic added 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists as his streak of 11 consecutive double-doubles also ended.

While the game was physical and sometimes ugly, the Bulls seized control by quickly building a 20-5 lead and extending the margin to 62-41 late in the first half.

But on the second night of a back-to-back, the Bulls wore down in the second half as the Pacers became the aggressors.

โ€œWe talk about this at halftime and what weโ€™re getting ready to see happen and what we have to do,โ€ Chicago coach Billy Donovan said before he started gesturing with his hands. โ€œTheir intensity was here and ours was maybe the same as in the first half, but theirs was better.โ€

With McConnell, Turner and Mathurin leading the charge, the Pacers finally responded.

They cut the deficit to 87-80 after three quarters and…

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